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From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drink From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn't include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in. Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?


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From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drink From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn't include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in. Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

30 review for Certain Dark Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    Certain Dark Things is not just another vampire novel. Set in Mexico City, the novel imagines an alternate present in which the discovery of vampires' existence in the 1970s has fundamentally reshaped the world of the 21st Century. Mexico City has become a closed nation city, leaving the rest of the country at the mercy of powerful vampire gangs who fight for territory against each other and the humans. And it's not just one kind of vampire. Vampires from every culture in the world -- dozens of Certain Dark Things is not just another vampire novel. Set in Mexico City, the novel imagines an alternate present in which the discovery of vampires' existence in the 1970s has fundamentally reshaped the world of the 21st Century. Mexico City has become a closed nation city, leaving the rest of the country at the mercy of powerful vampire gangs who fight for territory against each other and the humans. And it's not just one kind of vampire. Vampires from every culture in the world -- dozens of subspecies -- have fled to Mexico because it has some of the least restrictive laws against blood-suckers. This is not great news for the native vampires of Mexico -- bird-winged blood drinkers who have existed since the time of the Aztecs. One of these, a beautiful young woman named Atl, flees to Mexico City when her Northern Mexico clan is destroyed by a rival gang of Necros (a horrifying European species that can control humans with a single bite and whose blood is poison to other vampires). With only her faithful dog Cualli and a young street boy Domingo, Atl must try to find a way out of the country while pursued by both Necros and human gangs who refuse to tolerate any vampires on their turf. I loved the premise of this book! Throwing vampire myths from so many cultures together was right down my alley. If you like vampire books but would appreciate some . . . er, fresh blood . . . this is a fast-paced read that breathes fresh life into the genre.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    Note: For people who only know me for Mexican Gothic, I should warn you all my books tend to straddle different genres and have a very different feel for one another. This is a neo-noir set in an alternate Mexico City. As such, it bears little resemblance to Mexican Gothic or vampire romances. It's violent, gritty, and faithful to the spirit of la novela negra. Update: 3/21: Cover revealed and excerpt available: https://nightworms.com/blogs/news/exc... Update 11/20: Review copies are available via Note: For people who only know me for Mexican Gothic, I should warn you all my books tend to straddle different genres and have a very different feel for one another. This is a neo-noir set in an alternate Mexico City. As such, it bears little resemblance to Mexican Gothic or vampire romances. It's violent, gritty, and faithful to the spirit of la novela negra. Update: 3/21: Cover revealed and excerpt available: https://nightworms.com/blogs/news/exc... Update 11/20: Review copies are available via Netgalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo... Update 08/2020: Skeletal page for new edition with a few order links functional: https://us.macmillan.com/books/978125... Update: Happy to say Certain Dark Things, which has been out of print for a while now, will come out in a new edition courtesy of Tor in 2021. See announcement here: https://tornightfire.com/announcing-t... People e-mail me several times a month asking where they can buy Certain Dark Things, so I figured I'd leave this message here: it's out of print. You can't buy it. Some libraries might have old copies. Sorry and check out there rest of my catalogue.

  3. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    Oh hey look! A vampire novel that is filled with culture-rich folklore and excellent writing and isn't cliche or awful! SOMEONE FRAME THIS BOOK. Or, I don't know, read it too?? Read it. Then frame it. And I also fully confess I 500% read this because I saw VE Schwab recommend it on her twitter and like...yes. (Also I totally see why and it reminded me of This Savage Song in a smol way. Not like a lot?? But I see connections.) AWESOME THINGS OF THIS BOOK: • it's really bloody • it's set in Mexico Ci Oh hey look! A vampire novel that is filled with culture-rich folklore and excellent writing and isn't cliche or awful! SOMEONE FRAME THIS BOOK. Or, I don't know, read it too?? Read it. Then frame it. And I also fully confess I 500% read this because I saw VE Schwab recommend it on her twitter and like...yes. (Also I totally see why and it reminded me of This Savage Song in a smol way. Not like a lot?? But I see connections.) AWESOME THINGS OF THIS BOOK: • it's really bloody • it's set in Mexico City and it's very dark and violent and there's stabbage • stabbage is how the kids say "stabbing x fabulous" by the way • or not the kids???? just me??? • MOVING FORWARD • it features Mafia-esque vampire gangs • murder • a cute deadly dog • most of the cast is POC • fierce epic complex female characters • bloooooooooood I'm just so endlessly impressed with all the vampire folklore too! These aren't your vampires that sparkle and can't walk in direct sunlight and are basically Dracula. NO, CHILD. There are several different types here, from ones that suck your energy, or eat you flesh and all, and ones that turn into birds too (!!) And just the complexity of their backstories and culture was absolutely fascinating. This is how vampires are done, folks. I actually had never tried adult paranormal before, but I'm beginning to think maaaaaybe it knows something YA paranormal does not? Like: how to stab all the things + add diverse culture + tell a layered story. Well DANG GUMMIT. I'M IMPRESSED. It's narrated by a fair few people, but the main events are: Atl and Domingo. Atl is a vampire (early 20s) who's on the run after her whole family has been murdered by a rival vampire clan. She's the bird kind which was awesome and she ends up picking up this homeless street kid, Domingo, (he's about 17) to feed on him...but YA KNOW. Things happen and she maybe develops A Single Feeling ™ and then proceeds to ignore it the whole time. So cute. I ship it. I loved Domingo because he was so sweet! He was naive and stupid also. But well. He is a teenage boy. And he totally idolised Atl into his own personal manic pixie dream girl (manic vampirxie dream girl????) but she was having NONE OF IT. I loved the character development! I also want to smack their heads together because dammit, Atl, you have feelings. HAVE YOUR FEELINGS. (To be fair she was on the run for her life and I like her priorities which are: kill bad people, drink nice Domingo's blood, and pet her dog. #impressed) Also throw in an epic woman cop who just wants a better life and a psycho young vampire out for revenge on Atl...and you have a pretty amazing plot. EVERYONE IS MORALLY GREY. I am so here for that. Although sometimes I think I want to say the word "Tlahuelpocmimi" out loud? Then I tell myself to go sit down. I also loved the rich diversity of the setting. And just the fact that it seemed so real, but with that thick smearing of magical realism that just lit up the page. It was dark and bloody and people got shot and had their heads ripped off...but it wasn't exactly gruesome on page, I didn't think?? However I've read Game of Thrones. SO. My sole complaint: THE FRIKKIN' ENDING. It honestly did not make sense to me and I may whine and fall on my face on the carpet and continue whining for the foreseeable future. It's a very open ending, but I was just MAD. (view spoiler)[Like Atl just says "nooo Domingo, I do not love you" (LIES SHE DOES) "and I'm off to escape the city on my own". How on earth could she do that?!? She needed Domingo for food? Like is that suddenly void? And I thought it was pretty rich to just leave him alone, when he'd made a TON of enemies all of a sudden because of her. I just imagine him getting murdered on the streets now and I shall cry. AT LEAST THE DOG SURVIVED AND HE GOT TO KEEP THE DOG. (hide spoiler)] ALL IN ALL: if you're looking for a book that does vampire myths and legends justice? HERE IS IT. It's bloody and exciting, not super fast paced, but absolutely addictive. The writing had me soooo bad, I basically didn't put the book down. And I adored the sweetness of Domingo + the sharp bloodiness of Atl. Plus culture! Diversity! Complex backstories! And BLOOD SPLATTERS. Omg this is such a Cait book it's ridiculous.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    4ish stars. Really a great book. Especially considering it's a vampire book. Don't get me wrong, the reason I don't like vampire books isn't because of the campiness or the shimmering in the light, it's because of the blood. I can't handle blood. Typing the word blood is making me light-headed. Drinking blood and the teeth in the neck and the words 'veins' and 'arteries,' stakes piercing through hearts blech blech blech blech. This book has made me like vampires. In spite of the blood. Moreno-Gar 4ish stars. Really a great book. Especially considering it's a vampire book. Don't get me wrong, the reason I don't like vampire books isn't because of the campiness or the shimmering in the light, it's because of the blood. I can't handle blood. Typing the word blood is making me light-headed. Drinking blood and the teeth in the neck and the words 'veins' and 'arteries,' stakes piercing through hearts blech blech blech blech. This book has made me like vampires. In spite of the blood. Moreno-Garcia has created a unique universe. In it there are different sub-species of vampires, seemingly grounded in the many different existing cultural takes on the vampire legend. Our main heroine, Atl, just so happens to belong to a tribe with ties back to the ancient Aztec Empire. She's unlike any vampire I've ever heard of before. In a really cool way. Action-packed from start to finish (probably a little too non-stop and streamlined), it's an addicting read in a very interesting setting with some really great character work. Our main protagonists, Atl and Domingo, are interesting, nuanced and unexpected. I wasn't sure about the writing quality for the first couple chapters; it seemed a little unseasoned. But by the end, I don't know if the author just got into a groove and became more assured throughout the book, or I just got used to the writing, or my first impression was wrong, because I did not end up feeling that way. I'd love to read more stories in this universe. I'd consider putting this in my top 5 books released in 2016. Check it out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    I think this is a pass for me. Domingo is a seventeen year-old who lives on the streets, getting by by being invisible and selling useful garbage. One night on the subway, he encounters Atl, an Nahautl (Aztec) woman who seems to be about his age, and her dog. She's on the run from Rodrigo, who is set on hunting down Atl and her family. It's a forward time, or perhaps a parallel time, when the world knows about vampires, and there are genetically modified dogs and such, so it isn't a surprise to I think this is a pass for me. Domingo is a seventeen year-old who lives on the streets, getting by by being invisible and selling useful garbage. One night on the subway, he encounters Atl, an Nahautl (Aztec) woman who seems to be about his age, and her dog. She's on the run from Rodrigo, who is set on hunting down Atl and her family. It's a forward time, or perhaps a parallel time, when the world knows about vampires, and there are genetically modified dogs and such, so it isn't a surprise to Domingo when he discovers Atl is a member of an obscure group of beings that are more like birds of prey than night-vampires. I read for quite a bit into the story, hoping for some of the fun and folklore of Gods of Jade and Shadow, but this feels like a very early blueprint. Dark Things takes itself quite seriously, without much humor to lessen all the feels. Domingo, who had been drifting, suddenly finds a purpose and becomes quite serious. Atl is fighting for her life; she's quite serious. Rodrigo and his henchmen are serious. It's all very plotty and angsty, and it's mostly about Domingo falling hard for Atl and Atl having multiple thoughts about what she's doing, and the people trying to harm her having harmful thoughts. See? Angsty. Narrative takes viewpoints from all three. I did enjoy what we had of Atl's viewpoint, because it was more of a glimpse into pre-Spanish conquistador folklore. Later the narrative includes that of Nick, the violent vampire hunting Atl and member of Rodrigo's team that actually hates him (angsty again). I think if you enjoy paranormal vampire stories, and how these things come about, and drama of vampire politics and the like, it's not a bad book. It isn't as snappy as Gods of Jade and Shadow in action or dialogue, but it isn't bad. I started skimming because while I cared what happened to Atl and Domingo, I fast lost interest in the mechanations of what was going on with the various conflicts. I read ahead to the ending, and for the animal-friends, (view spoiler)[the dog dies at the end (hide spoiler)] Just really not my thing. But hey! Another one off the TBR list. Yay, me!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    What a treat! This was a fabulous vampire book. Admittedly I'm biased because I enjoy a good vampire story, but even if you're not usually a fan, I would still recommend this one. It's original and with the exception of Fevre Dream by George R. Martin, is the best I've read. This is a modern take on gang war-fare in Mexico City. The main character, Atl, is a young vampire on the run from a different vampire sub species and gang. What is fascinating, as other reviewers have established, is the det What a treat! This was a fabulous vampire book. Admittedly I'm biased because I enjoy a good vampire story, but even if you're not usually a fan, I would still recommend this one. It's original and with the exception of Fevre Dream by George R. Martin, is the best I've read. This is a modern take on gang war-fare in Mexico City. The main character, Atl, is a young vampire on the run from a different vampire sub species and gang. What is fascinating, as other reviewers have established, is the details to which Moreno-Garcia goes into about the different subspecies of vampire. I particularly liked the Aztec bird-based species to which the main character belongs. The other main character Domingo, human, is touchingly portrayed along with his complicated relationship with Atl. I enjoyed everything about this story. It was truly excellent. I'm not usually a reader of glossaries, but for any vampire geeks out there, this glossary has lots of fascinating details about all the different vampire types and their habits. Do you know the difference between a wendigo, a revenant, an obayifo or a Necros for example? The glossary is a work of art in its own right...and so assured in tone that I found myself questioning whether this was a 'fantasy' novel at all! If you want something different from your next vampire fix...something less European vanilla.....look no further my vampire loving friends. Recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    HUZZAH! Certain Dark Things is being resurrected and republished in trade paperback 2021! Read about it HERE. HUZZAH! Certain Dark Things is being resurrected and republished in trade paperback 2021! Read about it HERE.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Longer RTC. Remember what Anne Rice did for the vampire novel 40 years ago with "Interview with the Vampire"? Silvia Moreno-Garcia has done that now with THIS BOOK. This was a fresh and elegantly blood-soaked reboot of the vampire tale, and I did not want to put it down. From Dusk till Dawn meets Blade meets Vampire: The Masquerade, but polished to perfection. Going right onto my Top 5 Books of 2016 list! Absolutely stunning ////Seriously AMAZING.//// Totally changes the game as far as the vampire Longer RTC. Remember what Anne Rice did for the vampire novel 40 years ago with "Interview with the Vampire"? Silvia Moreno-Garcia has done that now with THIS BOOK. This was a fresh and elegantly blood-soaked reboot of the vampire tale, and I did not want to put it down. From Dusk till Dawn meets Blade meets Vampire: The Masquerade, but polished to perfection. Going right onto my Top 5 Books of 2016 list! Absolutely stunning ////Seriously AMAZING.//// Totally changes the game as far as the vampire novel is concerned. Preorder it IMMEDIATELY. Thanks so much to Thomas Dunne and NetGalley for the review copy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/12/08/... I’ve been champing at the bit to read Certain Dark things ever since I first heard about the book. Back then it still didn’t have a title, but the mere description of it clinched it for me. I’m not someone who’s ever needed much motivation to pick up a vampire story after all, and after learning that one of the main characters is a descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, I was even more intrigued. That the book takes place in M 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/12/08/... I’ve been champing at the bit to read Certain Dark things ever since I first heard about the book. Back then it still didn’t have a title, but the mere description of it clinched it for me. I’m not someone who’s ever needed much motivation to pick up a vampire story after all, and after learning that one of the main characters is a descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, I was even more intrigued. That the book takes place in Mexico City was a compelling factor too. Gangs, drugs and corruption run rampant in the capital, but what you won’t have to worry about are vampires. That’s because the city has declared itself to be a “vampire-free zone”. But as with all rules, there are times when individuals have found a way around this particular edict. This is something Domingo knows all too well. A homeless teenager who ekes out a meager living by salvaging landfills for usable goods to resell, he is on his way home one day when he spies a pretty girl trailed by her large Doberman. To his surprise, she notices him back. And actually talks to him! It isn’t long before the girl confides in him her name and true nature. She is Atl, and she is a member of a subgroup of vampires who trace their line back to the ancient Aztecs. Atl is in trouble, so she cuts to the chase: some other dangerous vampires are after her, and she needs to get out of Mexico City and head south right away. But while she’s here, she will need a place to hide as well as a “Renfield” to feed on and to assist her during the day. Completely smitten by this confident, beautiful girl, Domingo readily agrees to help her out—the fact that she’s a vampire and wants to drink his blood be damned. However, it turns out Atl’s troubles are worse than he realized. The vampire gang she’s on the run from are headed by Nick Godoy, a real nasty piece of work. Brash young Nick is a “Necro”, a subspecies of vampire that most closely resembles the classical vampire archetype, and he has a grudge to grind. Bent on seeking vengeance for a long-ago slight, Nick has tracked his target to Mexico City where he and his Renfield Rodrigo have been getting into all sorts of mischief, attracting the attention of a police detective thus causing even more problems for Atl and Domingo. I had high hopes for the world-building going into Certain Dark Things, and I was not disappointed. Instead of charging in with an attempt to turn the vampire mythos on its head though, Silvia Moreno-Garcia does something more subtle—and ingenious, in my opinion. As we go deeper into Atl’s past, we get to learn a wealth of information about vampire lore in general. We find out about the subspecies, of which there are many. Considering how many cultures throughout history have developed their own version of the “blood-sucking/flesh-eating monster” legend (the Chinese and the Jiang-shi, or the stories of the Wendigo in Native American folklore, to name a couple) I thought this to be an especially clever twist. By drawing from inspiration taken from all over the world, the author has formed a basis for her story that at once feels fresh but still has roots firmly planted in our reality. The results are very effective and pleasing because the reader feels an immediate affinity for the setting and characters. The plot was also kept rather simple. It’s also fast-paced as hell. Everything about this book is slick and elegant, furnished with all the best features without being weighed down. This lack of complexity is perhaps the only thing holding me back from giving it a full five stars, but while it may not be phenomenal, it is still great. Certain Dark Things easily ranks among my most interesting and entertaining reads of the year. Silvia Moreno-Garcia offers a whole new world to discover in Certain Dark Things, a novel that offers rock solid world-building and compelling characters that are guaranteed to charm you and open your eyes. So if you’re getting a hankering for a vampire story, why not give this one a try? You won’t regret it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    After reading Moreno-Garcia's 'Signal to Noise,' I was on the lookout for anything else from this young author. 'Certain Dark Things' is quite a different offering, but it did not disappoint! This is a YA vampire novel for those who grew up with the mythos of 'Vampire: The Masquerade' and 'True Blood' (&c). If you read the previous sentence and said, "Yay, that's for me!" - well, it is. But if you read it and said, "Eh, I don't know about that." - well, don't write it off yet; it still might be fo After reading Moreno-Garcia's 'Signal to Noise,' I was on the lookout for anything else from this young author. 'Certain Dark Things' is quite a different offering, but it did not disappoint! This is a YA vampire novel for those who grew up with the mythos of 'Vampire: The Masquerade' and 'True Blood' (&c). If you read the previous sentence and said, "Yay, that's for me!" - well, it is. But if you read it and said, "Eh, I don't know about that." - well, don't write it off yet; it still might be for you! Because this is simply a very, very entertaining book. Domingo is a Mexico City teen who manages to scrape by through garbage-picking. Heading home with his cart of garbage one evening, he sees an elegant and lovely girl on the subway, accompanied by her impressive, gene-modified dog. Of course, he knows the young woman is far out of his league - but he can't help being drawn to her. When unexpectedly she invites him back to her place saying that's there's something that he can do for her, he expects some kind of trap... and he's not entirely wrong. But there was more to the situation that even he expected. This alternate near-future Mexico City is part of a world where vampires 'went public' a few decades ago - and, needless to say, not all humans were thrilled with the revelation. Mexico City is one locale which has flat-out banned vampires within the city limits. But the elegant girl, Atl, is indeed a vampire, descendant of an ancient clan once revered by the Aztecs. She's also genuinely young, and in over her head - trying to escape revenge by hiding where she should not be. After a vicious gang-war involving complex vendettas, she's on her own, fleeing some particularly nasty enemies. Only desperation would lead her to put her trust in a human street kid - but Atl is nothing if not desperate. And Domingo is smitten. The book has a well-balanced mix of action and romance, and a superbly-drawn, vivid and fascinating setting. If you haven't yet discovered Moreno-Garcia, I encourage you to do so! Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's for the copy of this book. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    A refreshing and original take on vampires, filled with vivid characters in a rich setting. The story is set in Mexico City, where Atl is a vampire on the run from a rival clan, and Domingo is a garbage picker who lives alone on the streets. Unlike other books where the urban setting can seem somewhat arbitrary and interchangeable, Certain Dark Things is imbued with cultural texture that comes to life so that the setting here is almost like another integral character. The sights, smells, and feel A refreshing and original take on vampires, filled with vivid characters in a rich setting. The story is set in Mexico City, where Atl is a vampire on the run from a rival clan, and Domingo is a garbage picker who lives alone on the streets. Unlike other books where the urban setting can seem somewhat arbitrary and interchangeable, Certain Dark Things is imbued with cultural texture that comes to life so that the setting here is almost like another integral character. The sights, smells, and feel of Mexico City all feel important. The characters are painted with the same kind of life to them. The villains are harsh and lack any redemptive qualities, and the heroes are people we want to see triumph. But even here the main characters are a study in contrasts. Atl is by nature dark and violent, while her companion Domingo lives lightly and is surprisingly unjaded by a life alone on the streets. Even knowing Atl can't help but be herself, Domingo also can't help but be who he is: He liked to think that there were heroes and villains, he liked picturing Atl as a damsel in distress. He liked the black and white of the comic book panels, the simple speech bubbles above characters. Good vampires. Bad vampires. And she had to be good because she was pretty and young and his friend. Right? The tension in the characters works well and is cleverly done as we see both Domingo and Atl change, but also remain exactly the same. For people who think there is nothing new when it comes to vampire stories, this is a great choice. If you are predisposed to the genre, there is a lot of satisfaction to be found here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    When I went looking for a book that can count for Latinx Heritage Month and future Spooktober recommendations I was not disappointed! A walled off Mexico City... Several species of vampires, one which traces back to the days of the Aztecs... This was an enjoyable read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    I'm not widely read on vampires but I think this is an original book, I particularly liked that there are different breeds of vampires and that the romance is just a subplot (thankfully, because it’s plain boring). The Mexico City setting, the Aztec mythology and the whole narcos-vampire combo also worked well for me, as did the nicely dark tones and the spot-on worldbuilding. The vampires are organized in rival gangs and have unique skills; they have different societal customs, some embrace mode I'm not widely read on vampires but I think this is an original book, I particularly liked that there are different breeds of vampires and that the romance is just a subplot (thankfully, because it’s plain boring). The Mexico City setting, the Aztec mythology and the whole narcos-vampire combo also worked well for me, as did the nicely dark tones and the spot-on worldbuilding. The vampires are organized in rival gangs and have unique skills; they have different societal customs, some embrace modernity, some breathe by tradition and they frequently engage in both infighting and expansion efforts. They also clash or make alliances with human gangs. Drug trafficking, organized crime and the police are a fundamental part of this novel, which is another element of novelty. The other best feature of the book is the characters: they are not Mary Sues or Gary Stues, (vampires or otherwise), they all have a background and feel realistic so I became invested in them very smoothly. There are several effective and well-handled third-person PoVs: a spoiled vampire heiress who saw her world collapse, a slum boy with an earnest heart, a middle-aged cop working in a hostile environment who needs to make ends meet, a narcissistic vampire scion with an obsession, a despondent vampire servant, an embittered Revenant lost in his past and a biomodified doberman (okay, not really a viewpoint) are just the main players of this all-out war. The tale is straightforward and spans a few days, it was a quick read and I liked its engaging details, the vivid setting and the intriguing characters on both sides of the argument. The main drawback is the ending because it is rushed. It wasn't disappointing in itself but it felt neglected after the previous careful building up of tension and the character-development. There is no cliffhanger and this book is a standalone, but the story is completely open to potential sequels. Sacrifice. The face of all earthly things at one point is sacrifice.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    A dark and intimate little story of vampires, gangsters and life in Mexico City. Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtli, a native aztec vampire, one of eight different sub-species of vampire. She has fled to Mexico City which has banned all vampires, but she's being pursued by the Godoy, a Necros vampire clan (European vampires) that her family is in conflict with. In Mexico City Atl meets Domingo, a young street-kid with a fascination for vampires and a painful naivete. What follows is a desperate chase throug A dark and intimate little story of vampires, gangsters and life in Mexico City. Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtli, a native aztec vampire, one of eight different sub-species of vampire. She has fled to Mexico City which has banned all vampires, but she's being pursued by the Godoy, a Necros vampire clan (European vampires) that her family is in conflict with. In Mexico City Atl meets Domingo, a young street-kid with a fascination for vampires and a painful naivete. What follows is a desperate chase through Mexico City while exploring the interesting relationship between Atl and Domingo against a background of some beautifully realized characters, both in terms of allies and pursuers. There are several things I loved about this book. Firstly the world-building around the vampires is very clever. Basically, the author has gone in with the idea that most myths about vampires in various cultures are actually real, just associated with different sub-species. Atl's sub-species sort of matches Aztec myths around the feathered serpent. Nick's sub-species matches more traditional European ideas around vampires. Another thing I loved is Atl and Domingo, and Domingo in general really. Both of these characters are very young in terms of experience, but Domingo retains an innocence that Atl has shed. Domingo's earnest fascination with everything Atl punctures Atl's cynicism beautifully and their relationship grows throughout the book without having an obvious conclusion. I also thought the background characters were beautifully drawn, with Ana the hard-working and put-upon cop, Rodrigo the veteran vampire retainer forced to take on his Master's stupid kid and the Revenant Bernardino and his old-world sensibilities mixed with an underlying menace. When something horrible happens to one of these characters later in the book I audibly gasped, even though these characters are very much backgrounded.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    I’m a fan of (all different kinds) of vampires stories, but it was refreshing to read a suitably dark novel with excellent world-building. Moreno-Garcia weaves together Aztec mythology into her vampire lore, and situates the clans in the drug world of Mexico. There’s a cast of sympathetic and layered characters, and the writing is equally effortless even when describing gory action scenes and contemplative moments considering moral dilemmas. This is a new favorite. –Molly Wetta from The Best Books I’m a fan of (all different kinds) of vampires stories, but it was refreshing to read a suitably dark novel with excellent world-building. Moreno-Garcia weaves together Aztec mythology into her vampire lore, and situates the clans in the drug world of Mexico. There’s a cast of sympathetic and layered characters, and the writing is equally effortless even when describing gory action scenes and contemplative moments considering moral dilemmas. This is a new favorite. –Molly Wetta from The Best Books We Read In July 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/08/01/riot-r...

  16. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I will absolutely finish this book someday, but today is not that day.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Jane Anders

    I've been a fan of Moreno-Garcia's writing since Signal to Noise, but somehow I missed this vampire novel when it came out. And I'm so glad I jumped on it at last, because it's become one of my favorite books by her, and one of my all-time fav horror books. Moreno-Garcia creates a rich and complex vampire lore — with ten different taxonomies of vampires — and this gives her room to explore the meaning of vampires in a whole new way. Vampires as predators, as romantic icons, as part of an ecosyst I've been a fan of Moreno-Garcia's writing since Signal to Noise, but somehow I missed this vampire novel when it came out. And I'm so glad I jumped on it at last, because it's become one of my favorite books by her, and one of my all-time fav horror books. Moreno-Garcia creates a rich and complex vampire lore — with ten different taxonomies of vampires — and this gives her room to explore the meaning of vampires in a whole new way. Vampires as predators, as romantic icons, as part of an ecosystem, as mind-controllers, as ravagers and despoilers — she explores every possible vision of vampire-dom along the way. I love the central relationship between Atl and Domingo so much. This book creeped me out but also drew me into its rich and complex world. Moreno-Garcia keeps making a strong case for the horror novel as something personal and introspective, but this book in particular is a standout. Certain Dark Things will make you think about vampires in a whole new way.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    Loved the dark aspects and the ending!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I think this had the unfortunate luck of coming directly after another 3 star read for me. Halfway through I just didn't have the patience for it anymore. It isn't particularly bad, but I just didn't enjoy most of it. The setting was fabulous and very well done. It's set in Mexico City, exploring the darker, dirtier corners of the city: the subway tunnels, warehouses where dog fights take place, poor apartment complexes, heck she even takes us to a landfill. The feeling and tone were perfect. I ju I think this had the unfortunate luck of coming directly after another 3 star read for me. Halfway through I just didn't have the patience for it anymore. It isn't particularly bad, but I just didn't enjoy most of it. The setting was fabulous and very well done. It's set in Mexico City, exploring the darker, dirtier corners of the city: the subway tunnels, warehouses where dog fights take place, poor apartment complexes, heck she even takes us to a landfill. The feeling and tone were perfect. I just wish she'd given us a story and characters to match. I didn't really connect with any of them. Atl- I didn't like and I didn't even hate. Domingo- poor guy, he just gave this impression of not being very intelligent. Very kind and caring, but overwhelmingly naive and innocent. The villain was cartoonishly evil, a caricature of a villain. Bernardino was the best character, but his motivation was non-existent and his believability was nil. Ana was actually my favorite character for quite awhile, the author even ruined her in the end. The plot was very basic. Atl's on the run from a bunch of drug dealing vampires. Mexico City is a no-vampire zone, so for now, she's cornered. Step in the villains hunting Ana. Step in the police detective investigating the trail of bodies the bad guys leave behind... you get the picture. There aren't really any twists or turns or surprises, what you see is what you get. I do think a lot of thought was put into the vampire breeds/histories/lore/etc. Everytime Atl mentioned a different kind of vampire, or a new power, or the history of her people I perked right up. There is a glossary of different vampires in the back of the book and that was probably the highlight of the book for me. These are not your typical bloodsuckers, and I'd be willing to give the author another shot at a vampire book that didn't focus on these particular characters and plot lines.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Domingo is a street kid living in Mexico City in the safe zone from the threat of vampires. One day though Domingo meets a strange girl who offers him money to come with her. Domingo hasn't been above prostitution to survive but question why this lovely girl would want to pay him when he should be begging for her company. Curious Domingo finds himself following Atl to her apartment where she reveals that she is actually a vampire and descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Atl has been in hiding in Domingo is a street kid living in Mexico City in the safe zone from the threat of vampires. One day though Domingo meets a strange girl who offers him money to come with her. Domingo hasn't been above prostitution to survive but question why this lovely girl would want to pay him when he should be begging for her company. Curious Domingo finds himself following Atl to her apartment where she reveals that she is actually a vampire and descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Atl has been in hiding in the last place she thinks someone would look for a vampire, in the city that is supposed to be a vampire free zone. But now Atl's troubles are catching up to her as careful as she's been. Nick and Rodrigo who have been hunting Atl have arrived in Mexico City and have been bringing attention from the authorities by raising the body count within the city. Starting off reading Certain Dark Things I was impressed with the world building within this read. The author did a wonderful job creating a unique setting by creating this fictional world based on Aztec mythology and Mexican folklore. There's hints of the vampire culture we've all come to know but a very intricately woven world with bringing in new things to the vampires within the story. However, as much as I was impressed with the details the story was built around I was almost just as disappointed as I went on that the plot seemed to lack the enthusiasm that the world had. With the lack of plot to engage me further into the read then some of the others details given to the vampire society almost started feeling like info dumps and started to drag a bit. In the end the lack of plot made this one not one of my favorite reads this year and I decided to give this one 2.5 stars. I would certainly be interested in another read by this author because the writing seemed to be solid it just lacked a bit of excitement for me as a reader. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Gaarder

    Read my reviews at http:www.jenchaosreviews.com Certain Dark Things: A Novel (Amazon.com) By Silvia Moreno-Garcia thomas Dunne Books, Imprint of St. Martin's Press, October 25, 2016 323 Pages, Hardcover Edition Goodreads Rating: 3.66/My Rating 3.00 "Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires… Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to s Read my reviews at http:www.jenchaosreviews.com Certain Dark Things: A Novel (Amazon.com) By Silvia Moreno-Garcia thomas Dunne Books, Imprint of St. Martin's Press, October 25, 2016 323 Pages, Hardcover Edition Goodreads Rating: 3.66/My Rating 3.00 "Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires… Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten. Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm. And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries. Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?" Review: Vampires are very different in this book than any other vampire story that I have read or seen in movies or on television. In this book, they are a subspecies of humans. They are born vampires and cannot change people into vampires. However, transmission of some vampire blood to another human or vampire can make another very sick. Also, there are more than a dozen different kinds of vampires, as the author has detailed in her glossary at the end of the book. Sadly, the book does not portray any of these other vampires, which is a disappointment. Atl is a Tlahuihpochtli ( I can't pronounce it either, so I say 'Smith') type of vampire, a race of vampires descended from the Aztecs and a drug cartel from northern Mexico. They consume the blood of the young to survive. Atl looks human most of the time but can change into another form when feeding, fighting, or fleeing. Atl is on the run from the Godoy family, a group of the Necros type of vampires, and also a drug cartel from northern Mexico. Necros are the most vicious of the species. There is also Bernardino, a revenant type vampire. These vampires can consume life from both humans and vampires by touch, sucking the natural life out of the victims. To be honest, this story was very confusing. While the writing was very good and technically put together correctly, the story itself did not make sense. My experience with vampire lore over the decades felt that this one fell flat and wanted to DNF this book many times. I stuck with it until the end hoping that I would see some of the other vampires that appeared in the glossary-I did not. The problems with the book are the dialogue, the setting ( or lack thereof), and a glossary with character creations that don't exist in the book.  Dialogue For example, you would read maybe three lines of dialogue and two pages of description. This is not real. This is not how life goes. A conversation is not just three lines. In a well-written book, the opposite is true. You would get a page or two of dialogue and a page of description showing balance. Setting Additionally, the setting was lacking any real description, so there was no visible matter to that of Mexico City or the past places that Atl lived or escaped. There was only a description of the places where Atl, Domingo, and Bernardino lived. The rest was very vague. Glossary Finally, the glossary described some elements that were in the story; however, there were at least more than a dozen vampire types defined, and none of them appeared in the book itself. In most fiction, when there is a glossary or index, the creatures, or items that are described are indeed in the text. This was a big disappointment for me. Writing: The writing was technically very good. She put it together well. However, that was all she was able to do. Writing well is not the only thing that makes a book enjoyable. The storytelling feature is the most important thing. It was woven together well, but not as a tale, more of a technical piece. It didn't have hesitations, however, it was just technically right. Plot: Atl had a goal of leaving Mexico to escape the clutches of the Godoy family which was a group of blood lusting Necros, violent and vicious vampires. She thought with the aid of naive Domingo, that would be possible. She elicited the help of the revenant Bernardino with much hesitation, and that may have or may not have been a good idea. Revenants do consume vampire life as they prefer it. On the run and out of time, Atl is doing whatever she can to get out of Mexico and save her own life. Will she be in time? This book was very slow, and I had to put it down a lot. I did not enjoy it as I would most vampire stories. I was excited to read about the battles between vampires and vampires and humans with weapons, but they were far and few between. The rest of it was very dull. There was not enough describing what was the point of all this because Atl was designed to be a "closed mouth" individual with a lot of secrets and she revealed precious little. Additionally, less was known about Bernardino's life and his type of vampire as well. These things could have advanced the plot a bit more, and the ending would have made more sense. However, the end is that it was predictable in a way, was open to holes. Characters: Atl was the lead vampire in the story. She was full of secrets with a dark past. Memories were all that the reader was privy to glean an idea of what she was about. She was a killer no less, but a coward as well, based on what secrets she did reveal to Domingo in private conversation. Coming from a cartel family, she admitted she was the last to survive and was on the run from a neighboring cartel which was Necros, a band of vicious blood-lusting killers that would stop at nothing to have her killed. Domingo is a runaway from a single parent home where his father abused him, and his mother had died years prior. He has older brothers that also beat him and treated him poorly. Domingo left because they locked him out. He is a homeless garbage collector out of choice. Domingo meets Atl, and she changes his outlook on life. Because he is naive and reads comics, he likens her to the vampire comics and sees her as a superpowered hero (or villain). He becomes consumed by her beauty and power. Bernardino is a revenant who is very powerful and very old. Though he has lived in Mexico City against the law ( vampires are not allowed in Mexico City as of 1985), he remains quietly in his house and bothers no one. Atl seeks him out for help in escaping Mexico because of his vast connections to the underworld. Ana is a police officer bent on finding the vampires responsible for the death of a human discovered in an alley two nights prior. She knows the bites were Necros because she used to hunt vampires in the North. She is determined to find out what and who is responsible. Nick Godoy is a young Necros who wants to find Atl at all cost. He is irresponsible and caves to his hunger much to the humans' disliking. He has a quick temper and can be very charming to human women. The characters were designed well. While the setting and the plot were not very good, the vampires that appeared in the story were not that bad. I had a sense of what they could do and what they looked like. The humans were also described well. However, there was not much to say about their current and past life. What I Liked: I liked that she was brave enough to design a new type of vampire. This was a new twist on things that took me by surprise, and it wasn't altogether wrong. I enjoyed the idea, even though I did not enjoy the book. What I Didn't Like: I was disappointed that not more vampires appeared in the story, though the glossary stated there were more. Moreover, I was also disappointed that the plot was not more robust. Furthermore, I do not like to be able to guess the ending so quickly. However, if I do, I want the journey to be a surprise. I was able to gather what was happening, through the confusion and guess what would happen while it was happening. This was a boring, yet easy book. Overall Impression: The book has so much promise with the advent of a new type of vampire species. However, it needs to be polished, or a series needs to be done if a variety of vampires is described. This sets the reader up for major disappointment. The story could be a good one if it weren't so flat and technical. I will try to read her other book The Beautiful Ones and see if it is any better than this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    4 1/2 stars****** The nitty-gritty: Dark and deliciously dangerous, with a unique take on vampires that will make jaded readers sit up and take notice. I have to admit that I honestly thought this was young adult before I started reading, but it surprised me (in more ways than one!) by being most certainly not YA. Certain Dark Things has made my list of all-time favorite vampire novels, and I’m so happy to have finally read a book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you like your vampires dark, nasty and 4 1/2 stars****** The nitty-gritty: Dark and deliciously dangerous, with a unique take on vampires that will make jaded readers sit up and take notice. I have to admit that I honestly thought this was young adult before I started reading, but it surprised me (in more ways than one!) by being most certainly not YA. Certain Dark Things has made my list of all-time favorite vampire novels, and I’m so happy to have finally read a book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you like your vampires dark, nasty and complicated, then this book is for you. Just about every element makes this special, starting with the setting. The story takes place in Mexico City, a place teaming with gangs, a corrupt police force and government, and even vampires, although technically the city is a vampire-free zone. Domingo is a homeless teen who survives by scouring the landfills for junk he can sell. He may not have much, but he’s at home in his corner of the world, and his street smarts keep him alive and off the radar of the sanitation crew. He’s seen a lot, but one thing he’s never seen before is a real vampire, since they were banned in Mexico City, and border patrols keep a close eye on any trying to get in. Until one day, Domingo spots an intriguing girl walking with her huge Doberman, and because he’s seventeen and she’s beautiful, he decides to follow her. When the girl asks him back to her place, he assumes she wants to pay him to have sex, but that’s not quite the case. The girl turns out to be a vampire named Atl, part of a vampire subspecies descended from the ancient Aztecs, and what she needs from Domingo is blood. Atl and Domingo come to a tentative agreement, as Atl needs a “Renfield”—a human who can help her out during the daylight hours. But Domingo soon learns that Atl needs way more help than he can give her. It turns out she’s on the run from another vampire named Nick Godoy, and she’s come to Mexico City to try to hide from him. Unfortunately, Nick and his Renfield Rodrigo are hot on her heals. Not only that, but when a savvy cop named Ana with a reputation for killing vampires starts investigating the murder of a young girl, clues lead her to Nick, and suddenly Atl finds herself the target of more humans and vampires than she can handle. Certain Dark Things has a fairly simplistic plot—Atl is being hunted by Nick and his gang, and later by Ana, and it’s all she can do to stay one step ahead of them. But what’s not simplistic is just about every other element in this story, and I have to start with the world building because it blew me away. Moreno-Garcia has come up with a world with ten different vampire subspecies, and each one has its own quirks, abilities and dangers. In this story, we really only get to know three of these subspecies, but I love that she took the time to dream up seven others that didn’t even make it into the book! (Think about that for a minute.) Atl’s species drinks only the blood from the young, hence her interest in Domingo. She can also shapeshift into a bird-like creature and even fly. Nick, on the other hand, is a Necro, the subspecies that most resembles vampires from popular culture that you and I are familiar with: they sport long fangs, are often pale and don’t do well in sunlight, and many are well-off financially. The author goes into a lot more detail, and every word about each subspecies fascinated me. There’s even a handy glossary at the end of the book that gives a brief description of each of the ten subspecies, and despite the lateness of the hour when I finished the book, I couldn’t stop reading until I had inhaled each detail. Many of the subspecies originated in different countries, so there is a wonderful aspect of diversity inherent in the story. The characters and the relationships between them are just as detailed as the world-building. Atl is an interesting combination of tough and vulnerable, and I loved how she tries to keep her distance from others, but you can tell she really wants to make a connection with someone. We find out right away that several really bad things have happened to Atl. Her mother and sister were killed by a rival vampire gang, and she retaliated by paying back the vampire responsible—big time. Now he’s out for revenge and he won’t stop until Atl is dead. And it turns out it’s really hard to kill a vampire, so you can imagine the creative ways the author finds to inflict pain and suffering on these characters. Which brings me to my next point: if you’re the squeamish sort, you may not get along with this book. Certain Dark Things is dark and bloody and painful and sad, but many of the relationships soften those hard edges, which is one of the reason I wanted to keep reading, despite the seemingly non-stop violence. Atl is fiercely devoted to her dog Cualli, and I thought it was refreshing that she actually treated him like a dog, without anthropomorphizing him. Atl is drawn to Domingo, not only because of his blood, but I got the impression that she loved his innocence and sweetness as well. Their relationship wasn’t what you might expect, and I appreciated that the author didn’t take things in the expected direction. At about 60% in my Kindle ARC, the action really took off and literally didn’t stop until the end. Above all, this is a “chase” story. Atl and Domingo are trying to keep one step ahead of Nick, Rodrigo and Ana, and frankly, they are having a hard time. I love that the author brings in a whole slew of vampires and humans who are trying to help Atl, but at the same time, these gang members and vampires aren’t exactly the reliable sort, so you just never know where things are going. I was so keen on Atl and Domingo making it out of Mexico City that my heart was racing the entire time. It’s not often that I get really worried about characters that I love, and this was one of the most heart-pounding books I’ve read in some time! The ending gave me goosebumps, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. Certain Dark Things is not to be missed, especially if you love your vampire stories dark and gritty and infused with emotion. Highly recommended. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    1.5 After the awesome world from Obsidian and Blood which only has three books, I didn't mind a touch of Aztec vampirism at all. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only thing I liked in this book. Let me rephrase that: the take on vampires in Certain Dark Things is great. Not really original since there are other authors who used different types of vampires, but still good and really well combined with mythology and folklore. There are five POVs: Atl's (a young vampire girl on the run from a 1.5 After the awesome world from Obsidian and Blood which only has three books, I didn't mind a touch of Aztec vampirism at all. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only thing I liked in this book. Let me rephrase that: the take on vampires in Certain Dark Things is great. Not really original since there are other authors who used different types of vampires, but still good and really well combined with mythology and folklore. There are five POVs: Atl's (a young vampire girl on the run from a gang that killed her family), Domingo's (a young trash collector who ends up helping her), Nick's (different subspecies of vampire than Atl), Rodrigo's (Nick's father's henchman) and Anna's (a corrupt police officer). I hated every character save one (I'm not counting the dog; I like dogs) and that one doesn't even have a POV here. But that's a minor issue I have. It wouldn't be the first book I read with horrible characters. Atl is one of the most annoying protagonists I've come across. She is ungrateful and childish. Her memories didn't endear her to me. There are TSTL moments too - you know, when a character should do one thing but starts with the annoying I am tough routine. The smirking didn't help either. The non-existent chemistry between Atl and Domingo made it difficult to believe in any kind of connection. What I have issue with the most and the main reason why I didn't enjoy the book are the themes. The whole book is one huge check list of the current social and other issues. I will not list them. I do not appreciate preachy books and this one takes the cake the way the issues are thrown in your face every couple of pages or so. Lots of subtle and not so subtle jabs at various groups of people. I think the only reason I am not giving up on something with this author's name on it is because I've seen two or three Lovecraftian anthologies edited by her. People will like this book. ARC received from St. Martin Press via NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    This was really good, starting with the gorgeous cover with the stylized hummingbird over the woman's face. I loved the author's writing and the different species of vampire (the information at the back of the book was particularly helpful!) The characters were wonderful, with no one being particularly heroic or sympathetic, though I did empathize with street kid and vampire-obsessed Domingo and Atl's Doberman). It was wonderful also seeing a 50-year old detective, Ana Aguirre, and her attempt t This was really good, starting with the gorgeous cover with the stylized hummingbird over the woman's face. I loved the author's writing and the different species of vampire (the information at the back of the book was particularly helpful!) The characters were wonderful, with no one being particularly heroic or sympathetic, though I did empathize with street kid and vampire-obsessed Domingo and Atl's Doberman). It was wonderful also seeing a 50-year old detective, Ana Aguirre, and her attempt to track down both Atl and Nick, a truly awful vampire. I liked the worldbuilding, and the characterizations of Atl and Domingo were wonderful.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Noir crime thriller plus vampires set in Mexico City! Certain Dark Things was a really unique take on a vampire story and as always, Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves in Mexican culture, history, and relevant issues with interesting, morally complex characters, not to mention addressing the harmful effects of colonization. (in this case with a particularly nasty sub-species of vampires from Europe) This is a multi-perspective novel, but the primary narrative revolves around Atl (descended from an Azte Noir crime thriller plus vampires set in Mexico City! Certain Dark Things was a really unique take on a vampire story and as always, Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves in Mexican culture, history, and relevant issues with interesting, morally complex characters, not to mention addressing the harmful effects of colonization. (in this case with a particularly nasty sub-species of vampires from Europe) This is a multi-perspective novel, but the primary narrative revolves around Atl (descended from an Aztec clan of blood-drinkers with wings who is hiding in Mexico City from some dangerous vampires) and Domingo (a charmingly sweet teen boy from the streets who earns a living sorting through trash for things to sell). Atl initially pays Domingo to feed on his blood, but their relationship develops into something deeper and more complex. But danger is everywhere as Mexico City is supposed to be a vampire-free zone and several different players want Atl dead. This was smart with lush writing, morally ambiguous characters, vibrant descriptions of Mexico City, and detailed world-building that draws on different vampire myths from around the world. Basically anything this author writes is worth picking up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    3.75 Vampires were my thing back in the day, way before Twilight. I'm talking early '90s during the Christopher Pike era and then shortly after with Anita Blake. It was rare to find paranormal books like this back then unless you wanted to read Anne Rice, which I didn't. So, this was a welcome nostalgia trip as I've mostly been reading comics and manga and not so many novels. I had forgotten how much fun vampire books can be, especially when they're fresh like this one was. I don't mind when an au 3.75 Vampires were my thing back in the day, way before Twilight. I'm talking early '90s during the Christopher Pike era and then shortly after with Anita Blake. It was rare to find paranormal books like this back then unless you wanted to read Anne Rice, which I didn't. So, this was a welcome nostalgia trip as I've mostly been reading comics and manga and not so many novels. I had forgotten how much fun vampire books can be, especially when they're fresh like this one was. I don't mind when an author uses the tried and true vampire mythos instead of making their own, but it's so much more fun when they do create something new. This is the type of story I wish was a series because there's so much more I want to know about this world. I absolutely love her take on vampires and the very different species/types/cultures. Side note about that: I wish I had realized there was a glossary at the back, it would've been helpful to read that first. I think that would've been better placed at the front instead. I don't have issues with shifting POVs and I really enjoyed having the story told to me from different sides. The only one I thought was kind of weak was the police officer Ana, she and her daughter just weren't developed as much. I felt like I should've cared about them more but I just didn't. I felt a sense of urgency throughout this, which is what you want when the characters are constantly on the run. The only problem was how rushed the ending felt to me because of that, but, it's somewhat refreshing to have things take a turn for the worse so quickly and for there to be actual consequences and death. So many novels draw things out and it takes forever for people to die or it's this big show, but I think it makes more sense when it happens in a split second - it's less dramatic but more realistic. I love Atl and Domingo and I can understand how some people didn't think they had much chemistry, but I disagree. Sure, it's probably mostly a crush and lust on Domingo's part but I also think he feels real affection for Atl, and so does she for him. And Atl is young, even though she had certain ideals drilled into her I didn't think it was unrealistic for her to slowly grow attached to Domingo. I also liked that they didn't just rely on the blood exchanged to forge their connection. I think the stress and adrenaline of everything they went through also forced them together much quicker than if they had just met some other way. So for me their relationship made sense. I think a sequel could be easily written and even a series, but I can understand if she chooses not to. The ending sets this up so that it could continue but it still has a satisfying conclusion. Oh, and if anyone is worried about Atl's dog like I was throughout, (view spoiler)[he gets shot but lives. (hide spoiler)] I love animals so much but man I hate when they're companions in books like this because I'm just anxious the whole time that something will happen to them. I really enjoyed this, so much that I just bought her newest release, Mexican Gothic, even though it has nothing to do with this book. I loved the setting and characters and can't wait to read something else similar. It's always fun when you find a new author that makes you excited to check out their whole back catalog.

  27. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys! It be no secret that Sarah @ brainfluff likes to increase me ports for plunder list by exponentially high amounts. And thank goodness because her awesome review led me to this amazing read. She said: "I don’t know how Moreno-Garcia manages to worm her characters right into my inscape – I suspect she is a witch, whose books weave an enchantment. But I have yet to read anything of hers where I haven’t passionately cared about her world and the people in it. As for what happens Ahoy there me mateys! It be no secret that Sarah @ brainfluff likes to increase me ports for plunder list by exponentially high amounts. And thank goodness because her awesome review led me to this amazing read. She said: "I don’t know how Moreno-Garcia manages to worm her characters right into my inscape – I suspect she is a witch, whose books weave an enchantment. But I have yet to read anything of hers where I haven’t passionately cared about her world and the people in it. As for what happens to Atl and Domingo – you’ll have to read the book to find out. Even if you’re sick of reading vampire books, even if you’ve never read a vampire book, pick this one up and give it a go. It is every bit as beautiful and dark as that amazing cover." I will admit that I thought I was sick of reading about vampires. I wasn’t. The true magic in this book involves the vampire culture and history and how it has affected human society as a whole. The world building is fantastic. This review won’t really do it justice. But that’s okay. So imagine that in 1967 humans discover that not only are vampires real but they have been evolving over time. In fact there be at least 10 sub-species of vampire. Popular culture got a lot of facts wrong. Each group has its own customs, habits, traditions, politics, weaknesses, and powers. Despite these powers, humans still have the upper-hand due to their adaptibility and sheer numbers. Each country has dealt with vampires in different ways. But vampires have entered the mainstream and aren’t easy to exterminate. One such vampire is Atl who is a member of the Tlāhuihpochtlin clan. They are natives of Mexico and are closely tied to the Aztec traditions. Problem is that they are in the midst of a turf battle with the Necros clan who originally hale from Central Europe. The Necros spurn the old ways and are trying to achieve dominance. Atl has fled from her family compound to Mexico City with the hope of escaping further into South America. The problem is that she is a spoiled younger daughter with no real sense of living outside her clan’s rigid and pampered society. She be in trouble. Enter Domingo, a human, who makes his living trash-picking and lives in the margins. He runs into Atl in the subway and is surprised that she notices him. Atl wants a willing meal. Domingo wants money. But both end up in an unexpected partnership for survival. Now while the world building is the highlight, the plot is also absolutely wonderful. It’s gritty, action-packed, and thoroughly engaging. I loved Atl as a character and wanted her to succeed even if she is selfish, very inhuman, and basically a bitch. I wanted sweet, loveable, naive Domingo to get the hell away from her and yet understood his desire to help Atl. The push and pull of the two of them was excellent fun. The gang-like interactions and mystery sections of Atl tracking down her family’s past were thrilling. And of course, learning about all the vampire clans along the way was delightful. And the ending was unexpected yet perfect. This is me first Moreno-Garcia book but not me last. I highly recommend this to all of the crew. Arrrr! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    “Bad idea. You and Atl,” Bernardino said. “Your attempt at a romance.” Domingo raised his head and looked at the vampire, who was standing by the door, holding an oil lamp between his hands. He looked the part of a vampire who had ventured forth from Dracula’s castle. “I’m sorry?” Domingo replied. “Don’t bother denying it.” Domingo shrugged, unwilling to commit any words. Bernardino set his lantern upon a table and smiled at Domingo, though the smile was hollow and held no mirth. It was a copy o “Bad idea. You and Atl,” Bernardino said. “Your attempt at a romance.” Domingo raised his head and looked at the vampire, who was standing by the door, holding an oil lamp between his hands. He looked the part of a vampire who had ventured forth from Dracula’s castle. “I’m sorry?” Domingo replied. “Don’t bother denying it.” Domingo shrugged, unwilling to commit any words. Bernardino set his lantern upon a table and smiled at Domingo, though the smile was hollow and held no mirth. It was a copy of a smile. A fake. “She seems to enjoy your company, she may even like you, and yet. Don’t deceive yourself, my boy, this is not a love story.” Even in this dim light he knew the vampire could probably see the silly expression on his face, his open mouth, the surprise that made his cheeks burn and then quickly turn his face away. Too late, though. Bernardino rested a hand against the lantern, and this time when he smiled it was different. It was a cutting gesture. Real and full of mockery. “Vampires, we are a diverse lot. So many differences. Yet we are united by one simple unavoidable fact: we are our hunger. It is no surprise, when you consider it. We have been surviving for a very long time against a rather cunning and adaptable foe. Humans are nothing if not adaptable. I can’t claim the same of us, though we are persistent. Yet we make it through, despite being outnumbered by your folk, despite times that change too quickly, because of that undeniable truth. In the end, we are always our hunger.” Bernardino’s hand, splayed against the glass of the lantern, generated strange shadows that darted across the walls. “I don’t understand what you mean,” Domingo said. “Hunger. It is the primal instinct, the vector that guides our actions. Do you know, boy, what Atl would do, if faced with a choice between saving her life or preserving yours? She’d kill you. Love is a strange thing to us. We do not revel in it. We only know hunger.” “That’s a load of crap,” Domingo said. “Because she has not killed you yet?” Domingo knit his hands together and stared at them. He remembered what Bernardino had said just a little while before, about ties that bind. “Your kind loves. You, for example,” Domingo said. “You must have cared about Atl’s mother. She must have been your friend. Why would you help Atl if not for love? Love for her mom, maybe, but love. You felt something for her.” “You are confusing friendship with duty. Vampires have been governed by codes for ages and ages. The young ones, they’ve forgotten this. They forget the old rules, dismiss our ways. But I still live by my code. It is what elevates us from the animals.” “Why do you care how I feel about Atl?” “I don’t. Moths. Flames. It’s an old story. I’m merely making an observation. Something to pass the time, you might say,” Bernardino said. Domingo slumped forward. Bernardino lifted his hand from the lantern and the odd shadows vanished. The vampire tilted his head slowly, as though he were trying to get a better look at him. Domingo could see the veins running across Bernardino’s face. His skin seemed as thin as the wing of a dragonfly. Bernardino was alien, completely different from Atl. When Domingo looked at Bernardino he saw the vampires of movies and legends. When he saw Atl all he could see was a young woman. “Of course, you see wrong,” Bernardino said. “We are both exactly the same.” It didn’t surprise Domingo that the vampire had read his thoughts again. He wondered what the whole point of talking was if the vampire could simply know what he was thinking, but maybe it wasn’t as precise as words. Maybe it was just fun. Something to pass the time, as Bernardino said. “Ask me the question you want to ask me,” Bernardino said. Domingo frowned. He was wondering if there were ever any exceptions. If maybe once in a while vampires could love. If that love might extend to a human or if it was restricted to members of their own kind. The question sat on the tip of his tongue and then, all of a sudden, Domingo decided he wasn’t going to ask it. He needed to talk to her, not this man. He stood up, walking past Bernardino. “She is my responsibility now, at least for a little while,” Bernardino said. “That pesky code I told you is at work.” Domingo paused at the entrance. “Meaning?” “It’s stakes and sunlight in the stories, isn’t it? The vulnerabilities, the things that can get one of us killed. Stakes, sunlight, garlic, those old, trusted weapons. But those are just things. The trouble comes if you make the mistake of forgetting the hunger. Forgetting what you are.” Bernardino moved to occupy the couch where Domingo had been sitting, tangling his long fingers together. “She’s young. It’s easy to forget if you are young. Easy to become confused. Be careful, Domingo. She’ll consume you, if you let her, but you could also end up costing Atl her life. We wouldn’t want that, would we? Stay down here. Keep your distance. Let her be.” The clock began to chime, marking the hour. Domingo grabbed the lantern. “I can’t.” 4 stars

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eve Messenger

    (Actually, 4.5 stars.) Let me start by saying that, even though I’m not big into vampires, Certain Dark Things was a thoroughly entertaining read. This YA paranormal thriller is told from alternating viewpoints of Atl, a naïve young female vampire who’s illegally entered the vampire-free zone of near-future Mexico City; Domingo, a homeless Mexican teen; and Ana, a tough Mexico City cop. The tenuous balance between humans and vampires, as well as clashes between vampire families and drug cartels, (Actually, 4.5 stars.) Let me start by saying that, even though I’m not big into vampires, Certain Dark Things was a thoroughly entertaining read. This YA paranormal thriller is told from alternating viewpoints of Atl, a naïve young female vampire who’s illegally entered the vampire-free zone of near-future Mexico City; Domingo, a homeless Mexican teen; and Ana, a tough Mexico City cop. The tenuous balance between humans and vampires, as well as clashes between vampire families and drug cartels, make for an action-packed story. However, the most compelling aspect is the relationship between Atl and Domingo. Domingo's awkward courtship of Atl is genuinely sweet, i.e., this passage from Domingo’s POV: "Yeah. I know how it goes. I used to have a girlfriend but that’s not the case anymore," he told her because he figured it sounded like the mature thing to say. He was attempting to go for “aloof” and “sophisticated,” like they said in the magazines. World-building is a tricky thing. It can come across as info dumps, which it does early on in this book. However, by chapter 14 the story totally drew me in, and I didn’t want to leave the world and characters. Moreno-Garcia has a strong writing style. Though in a couple of places descriptions went on a bit long, making me impatient to return to the story, for the most part the descriptions were excellent; for example, this one about the Mexico City district of Colonia Roma: It was a place for sophisticated older people and hip young ones, with magnificent trees and faded mansions, a taco stand here and there to remind you it was not quite the Belle Époque and you were still in Mexico City. The Revenant vampire Bernardino is an UNFORGETTABLE character. I also really liked Mexico City cop/single mom Ana. Armed with knowledge gained from listening to her grandmother's folktales, Ana is one of the only humans in Mexico City with expertise on how to take down vampires. To give you an idea of Ana's fiery personality, here's how she describes a sexist male coworker: “. . . skinny fucker with his cheap tie and his monumental indifference.” I appreciated Moreno-Garcia’s subtle characterizations, like this one conveying how Atl begins to open up to Domingo. So simple but so effective. He kicked the can in her direction and she kicked it back. Lastly, don't skip the glossary at the end. Moreno-Garcia clearly put a lot of research into the story, and it’s interesting to read her take on the different vampire species from all over the world, their habits, and social structures.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allison Hurd

    A cool urban fantasy featuring a vampire from Aztec lore, hints and glimpses of a whole world of vampiric abilities, a trusting street kid, and a cop who just wants to stay out of the way of bloodsuckers. CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list) (view spoiler)[ murder, gore, body horror, hurt kids, hurt animals (including dog fighting, though not on screen), prostitution, slavery (hide spoiler)] Things to love: -The mythology. Vampires are everywhere, but I doubt you've seen them like th A cool urban fantasy featuring a vampire from Aztec lore, hints and glimpses of a whole world of vampiric abilities, a trusting street kid, and a cop who just wants to stay out of the way of bloodsuckers. CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list) (view spoiler)[ murder, gore, body horror, hurt kids, hurt animals (including dog fighting, though not on screen), prostitution, slavery (hide spoiler)] Things to love: -The mythology. Vampires are everywhere, but I doubt you've seen them like this. A really cool twist on the old and a fun explanation for their existence without destroying the allure of the stereotypes most common in pop culture. -The writing. Moreno-Garcia has lovely prose, gritty and straight forward but with plenty of finesse. -Domingo and Cuahlli. The boy and the dog. Domingo is sweet, unassuming. Despite a difficult life, he's always willing to believe that good will happen. He doesn't dwell, he just goes on. And then the dog is a bioengineered Doberman. And such a good boy! I guess honorable mention to Rodrigo, who at least felt like a real person with motivations and frustrations. Things that weren't as tight as I expected: -The plot. I could feel the outline behind the writing still, the cold calculations of what would be logical or necessary for the next plot point but that felt like secondary thoughts between scenes that the author really enjoyed writing. I liked those bits and found the in-between scenes a bit stilted. There's a bit of a defensive "because I said so," behind a lot of it. Why two days instead of three? Why a romance? Why this bizarre conclusion about a dog? Why is it possible for seemingly human beings to have all these vampiric powers? -The other characters. Atl, the main character, is a total bitch for reasons that don't quite make sense to me. We learn that her family really drilled her to take care of her human meals, but in reality she sends them half drained into the den of the most dangerous people around, tells them to report to her in the middle of the night, and toys with their emotions. Ana was jaded and complained a lot, especially for someone who actually seemed to be more lucky than skilled at detective work. Nick was a caricature, too over the top to love to hate. -Internal consistency/continuity. I found a lot of continuity errors and repeated lines that contradicted what we learned earlier (or weighed down already confusing scenes). How does a one-handed person stuff envelopes? Why did Bernardino change his mind? What made Atl change hers about him? Why neglect all her family elsewhere in the nation? Really, what danger were humans to vampires so fierce that none are in Mexico City? It was a different take on urban fantasy, which was fun, but it was missing a lot of story elements that are sort of critical to me to enjoy something. I kept getting knocked out of the story, which then gave me too much time to consider construction and it suffered for that. I did like the author's writing and would be glad to try it again, but likely would not recommend this book without reservation.

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